After 24 years of service to Hardin-Simmons University, Dr. Teresia Taylor, head of the Department of Foreign Languages and senior professor of Spanish, will retire at the end of the spring semester. But Taylor will not be departing without the opportunity to bestow some of her wisdom on her students.
No stranger to hard work, Taylor has headed up the food committee for the HSU Western Heritage Day celebration, sometimes fighting 20 mph winds blowing cups, napkins, and beans, mixed in a whirlwind of dust.
In 2009, while training for a 60-mile walk to benefit breast cancer research, the 65-year-old Taylor walked eight miles every morning prior to the sun coming up and before teaching an 8 a.m. Spanish class at HSU. Taylor did the walk because she had been battling breast cancer since 1995. “I am fortunate that the surgeries and medicines are working for me,” she said in an interview almost four years ago. “I believe that I would not be here if it weren’t for the progress that has been made in breast cancer research up to this point. Someone somewhere raised the money for that! That’s why I’m doing this.”
One of her most cherished services to the university has been acting as interpreter on mission trips to Mexico and other Latin American countries with students studying for the doctorate of physical therapy degree. She fondly remembers pushing wheelchairs on cobbled stone streets in Guatemala, and in Mexico, the joy of giving a man a skillet in which to cook his food.
She has worked tirelessly with the University of Interscholastic League competitions held at HSU, serving with coordinator and associate professor of communications, Charlene Strickland. She has also taught many students in numerous countries as part of the HSU study abroad program, overseeing classrooms and students in Salamanca, Spain; London, England; and even escorted HSU students to the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain.
Taylor joined the HSU faculty in 1989 and holds two degrees from HSU, a Bachelor of Science degree in education (1968) and a Master of Arts degree (1976) in English/Spanish. She earned a Ph.D. degree in Spanish from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, in 1992.
She was a teacher with the Clyde Independent School District for 21 years while serving as an adjunct Spanish teacher at HSU.
While at Clyde, she was recipient of the Texas Excellence Award for Outstanding High School Teachers, given annually to only 10 teachers in the state by the University of Texas Ex-Students Association. She was also honored as Clyde’s Teacher of the Year for 1988-89.
At HSU, Taylor has served as vice president of the HSU faculty and as a member of the university steering committee to prepare for a visit by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. She is the author of The Representation of Women in the Novels of Juan Valera, A Feminist Critique and of numerous articles and book reviews. In 1995 Taylor served as a preliminary reviewer for the National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship Program for foreign language teachers seeking project funding.
Taylor will share her message with a full house of graduates and their families during the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony Saturday, May 11, 2013, in Behrens Auditorium.